Skip navigation

After reading through “Secrets of the Dust” (SotD), I couldn’t wait to jump in and start playing. Before that, however, I need to talk about prepping the campaign. To begin with, there are a couple of issues that pale in comparison to how cool and pulpy the first adventure “Perchance to Dream” is. There is another adventure called “Destroyer of Worlds”, but I doubt my group will play it. The reason is because the setting goes back in time to before WWII and I really want to get from the Dreamlands in the first part back into the happenings and intrigues of WWII. But this will largely depend on which direction the players wish to go. Plus, SotD doesn’t present any of the Dust baddies like Frank von Stein and the Blutkreuz monsters and I will likely start statting out some of those guys.

Blutkreuz

The even more minor issue is that there is one plot hole. At the beginning of the adventure, the A!C investigators are supposed to go to the Dust universe and then into the Dreamlands, but the book also says that the only connection between the Dust and A!C worlds is through the Dreamlands. That’s okay, though. We’ll correct this in our plot.

For a fuller review see this: A!C Dust Review

In my campaign I’m having my players have two different characters at the outset of the game – one in each universe (A!C and Dust). Play sessions will go back and forth until the two groups meet up in the Dreamlands at which time the players will have to decide whether or not to continue this or mix the groups somehow. For the Dust characters, players will choose from the six pre-generated Ranger characters that are presented in the SotD appendix.

The A!C investigators are going to be German double agents that are recruited to help Majestic. For this first couple of sessions for these characters, I will be running the A!C supplement called Kontamination. It is an interesting adventure that requires very little alteration for our purposes and also presents pre-generated investigators that the players can choose to run.

The plot includes a Nachtwolfe plot using the machine invented by Crawford Tillinghast in the Lovecraft story “From Beyond” to drive Allied soldiers mad. The only change we’re making is to have the visions of the Beyond be of the happenings of a future as presented in the portion of SotD called “Congratulations! You’ve Brought on the Apocalypse!”. This should clue the investigators into a reason to warn the A!C version of Dr. Lowbeer. We’ll cover this again later on, though.

To begin things, I wanted to give the players a test of the world and show them the vibe that using Dust miniatures on Lovecraftian-type horrors brings. In order to do this, I created an encounter with an Eldrazi Ruiner from the Magic the Gathering universe. This actually comes from the miniatures board game called “Arena of the Planeswalker” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. This can be used within the Dreamlands as a random encounter if the Keeper wishes. Here is the set-up with four Rangers (2 on foot and 2 in walkers). They are ready to roll their Spirit dice as they first behold the Eldrazi Ruiner.

And here are the stats for the Eldrazi Ruiner and the spawn Eldrazi Scions.

Eldrazi

The road map for the first several sessions of the campaign are as follows:

  1. Begin in medias res with players using the Ranger team from Dust up until where the group enters Celephais (Episodes 1 -3 in SotD).
  2. Plot shifts to A!C universe in 1944 in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge with players using their A!C investigators (Kontamination entire adventure). At the end, the characters will be recruited by Sergeant Miller (Majestic agent) which leads to Dr. Lowbeer sending the investigators into the Dreamlands to meet up with the Dust Rangers in Celephais.
  3. After the 2 teams meet, the NPC Mironim-Mer will be encountered in Celephais in order to add more sandbox-style opportunities for the group to choose from. This encounter is called “Lemon Sails” and is included in Call of Cthulhu’s Dreamlands supplement. The group could very well split back into two groups: one group helping Mironim-Mer and the other group continuing to search for the USS Eldridge elsewhere.

Coming up next will be the summary of play through these initial stages of the campaign.

Having finished a rather long campaign and design project called “Call of Kungfulhu”, which is a Wuxia adaptation of High Fantasy and Cthulhu Mythos mash-up, I found myself looking for my next campaign design. I picked up the A!C/Dust mash-up and was pleasantly surprised to see that a large part of the plot takes place in the Dreamlands – a setting that I have been completely immersed in with Call of Kungfulhu. This allows me to further utilize the amazing map created by Jason Thompson which I had posted about previously.

Dreamlands Map

For the next several weeks I will be posting my campaign design notes and game play sessions in case there is anyone looking for ideas and tips on running this rockin’ campaign!

Let’s begin with the resources that I have compiled to launch this campaign:

  • Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Investigators Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Secrets of the Dust
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreamlands (Call of Cthulhu product)
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Kontamination
  • Lovecraftian Horrors, 7th Edition

 

The Dreamlands resource book contains an adventure called “Lemon Sails” that I used as a side adventure in Call of Kungfulhu. It’s such a weird, bizarre adventure that I wanted to add it to this campaign to make it more sandboxy. Plus, I want to see how differently it plays out in this setting versus how it played out in Call of Kungfulhu.

I also printed out both world maps as there are two different timelines that will be interacting with each other. The A!C map is pretty close to actual history (top middle), but the Dust map radically changes WWII (lower right).

For Bennies I will be using regular poker chips for standard Bennies, but I created what I call “Blood & Guts Bennies”. They are plastic dog tags. These Bennies can be spent to re-roll Trait or Damage rolls. The player also has the option of spending this Benny to add a d6 to either Trait or Damage rolls.

I will be using a set of military Tactical Field playing cards for my Action Deck.

And here are the Dust figures I’ve purchased so far to get things rolling. More are on their way. The Dust minis are just awesome products!

Mickey Walker with Rangers.

I will be using the Pre-Generated characters included in Secrets of the Dust for the Rangers coming from the Dust universe. For the investigators coming from the A!C universe, I will be using investigators from Kontamination (more on incorporating this next post).

And, just as a warm-up for the campaign, I decided to create a quick skirmish with my squad against an Eldrazi Ruiner and 3 Eldrazi Scions from the Magic the Gather universe.

These figures came out of the “Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. I’ll be providing the Savage Worlds stats for these creatures next post.

Stay tuned for more details on turning this adventure into a sandbox campaign that journeys through some exotic locales in the Dreamlands.

This serves as the first adventure for the four Elven heroes who must eventually sneak into the Shadowfell on a secret operation. The first four missions are not in the Shadowfell. They are designed as missions to retrieve four magic items that each Elf will find beneficial on their future missions inside the Shadowfell.

This first mission utilizes Dyson Logos’ map and background called “Wygralak’s Hole”.

For the full keyed dungeon as well as a Random Encounter table for the surrounding lands, see here:

Wygralak’s Hole Revisited v2

The Mad Mage Maurice is back with his stunning art and awesome research.

Here is a handy conversion of many D&D magic items to Savage Worlds:

Magic Items

This character creation turned into a little project of its own and needs a little explanation. I began with creating the four Elves in D&D 5e as it’s more robust. Even though D&D breaks down levels into four broad categories, it actually makes more sense to group them by the Proficiency Bonus increase and that creates 5 tiers of levels. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create off-shoots from the core classes, so I chose a party consisting of Bard, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger and chose paths for them that emphasized nature. I also wanted them to begin with a certain level of skill, so I chose to create 7th level characters and then try to emulate the same build in Savage Worlds with Veteran characters.

The biggest hurdle turned out to be how to handle the magic. Druids and Paladins have Prepared spell lists from all available spells, and Bards and Rangers have Spontaneous spells that are a smaller set of spells they learn. D&D and Savage Worlds have Arcane systems that are markedly different from each other – D&D being “Vancian”, cast and forget type spells using Spell Slots from a large spell repertoire and Savage Worlds using Power Points that fuel a small amount of spells. This was a challenge.

I had seen Richard Woolcock’s document on his Zadmar site entitled Savage Vancian Magic, but had never taken the time to read it. This seemed like a good time to check it out. And boy, am I glad I did. It maps the D&D spell system to Savage Worlds effortlessly. Not only that, it also includes new Edges that have the D&D feel to the classes. You could still use the Power Points method if you were adamant about keeping your Savage Worlds play grounded in the familiar Arcane system of SW, but I believe that SVM is worthy of a test run.

When I got to the point of creating the same characters in Savage Worlds, I had to make a decision, did I want to convert them exactly or create the character from scratch leaving most of the background the same, but potentially wind up with a character of the same name but different skills. I wanted to try and emulate the character’s skills from D&D, but parse it down to a faster playing style that is the SW feel. Honestly, using SVM was very helpful in this. I chose a mix of Edges from the core book and SVM that I feel emulates each character very well at a comparable rank in SW.

I also wanted to use fillable character sheets so people can use these characters and advance them in rank in both systems. The SWFC fillable sheet turned out to be too limited, but I persevered and used it anyway. I like my sheets to have as much information for the player as possible to limit having to look things up in books or on computers, so I went ahead and created an additional SW sheet for each character.

The real prep work for both systems will be the spells. On the D&D sheets I listed spells that I thought would be a good list of starter spells for an adventure, but feel free to change them as you see fit. For my own printed versions, I went into SVM and printed off the spell lists for Shaman (Druid), Spellsinger (Bard), Warden (Ranger), and Champion (Paladin) and attached them to the SW sheets.

To use these characters, you’ll need:

D&D: Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monster Manual

SW: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion, and Savage Vancian Magic

I will be releasing a series of adventures for a High Fantasy setting using both D&D 5e and SW. These characters are presented as pregenerated characters that may be used in the forthcoming adventures, or you’re certainly free to create your own should you want to use those adventures.

BACKGROUND

The Material Plane is bounded by two worlds and the three worlds overlap each other. These worlds are the Feywild where everything is in either perpetual dawn or perpetual dusk and the other is the Shadowfell where everything is dark, saturnine, and eerie. The Feywild is home to many fairytale creatures and is a world with much beauty. Two fey courts rule in the Feywild. Both courts are ruled by Queens. The Seelie Fey is called the Summer Court and is ruled by Queen Titania. The Queen of Air and Darkness rules the Unseelie Fey in what is called the Gloaming Court. [see the DMG for more details.]

Our adventure party are four Elven members of the Gloaming Court who have been chosen to create an elite team with specialized skills for their upcoming missions. They were inserted as diplomats from the Gloaming Court into the organization called the Emerald Enclave on the Material Plane. Within the Emerald Enclave, they have a Renown level of Winterstalkers.

The first member is the Bard. Paelias Moonwhisper. Paelias loves lore from any culture he encounters and is a master lute player. He is also a good swordsman.

Bard 7

Bard Vet

Paelias SW

Our next member is the Druid Quarion Amastacia. Quarion is the eldest of the group and acts as the leader of the team. His early life was spent in seclusion, but he has since become an adventurer of renown.

Druid 7

Druid Vet

Quarion SW

Next, we have the Paladin of the group. His name is Ivellios Naïlo. He is a close relative of the Queen and has a noble background. He is young by Elf standards and is passionate about proving himself to his family.

Paladin 7

Paladin Vet

Ivellios SW

Finally, we come to the Ranger and lone female of the group. Her name is Anastrianna Sionnodel. Anastrianna served in the Ghoul Wars where she learned her Ranger craft. She is now ready to put her skills to the test outside of the Feywild.

Ranger 7

Ranger Vet

Anastrianna SW

The Warlock Maurice isn’t the best artist, but he sure is good at cataloguing the bizarre monsters he’s encountered.

This is a master file of all of the monsters I’ve created, acquired, modified, or straight up used outright from my brain, books, and my browser. [USE WITH CAUTION!]

Beasts v2

I started playing D&D in 6th Grade. That would be 1981 when I was 11 years old. The person who exposed me to D&D was my older cousin Trace. He still runs his weekly D&D game with his friends to this day in Huntsville, Alabama. For a long time he was a key event planner for the gaming convention in Huntsville. While doing this, he was able to coordinate the guests of honor that came to the Con to help draw more participants. This would have been in the early 90’s. My uncle worked for NASA at the time (he’s now retired) and Trace was able to get Bob Salvatore to attend the Con with the promise that a full-access tour of the NASA facilities would be included in the trip. We’re talking visiting areas that the general public weren’t able to visit with the standard tour.

An unexpected, but cool, outcome to this was that Trace and Bob became friends at a time when Bob’s career was just beginning to take off. Trace even went and spent one Thanksgiving with Bob and his family one year! One day when I was at Trace’s house visiting he got a call from Bob and I was able to talk to Bob for 30 or 40 minutes on the phone. It was so cool!

Another cool thing that Trace did for me was to get my first edition of The Crystal Shard signed by Bob!

What does this have to do with the topic at hand? Good question. Not a whole lot other than I thought about all this while I was scouring the internet for stats on Drizzt and thought it would help add to my RPG street cred!

Now to the real point of the post. When I created the Pulp Hero Team that accompanied my last post, I thought it would be cool to create a team of High Fantasy/Swords & Sorcery heroes to use as Player Characters. I mean, how fun would it be to go through a One Shot using Gray Mouser, Aragorn, and Gandalf as PC’s! Or to play through one of the dungeon crawls just released in Tales from the Yawning Portal using Elric, Drizzt, and Conan!

My research around the net has uncovered the following trove of characters for both D&D 5e and Savage Worlds.

Lord of the Rings characters for Savage Worlds

Another version of Aragorn for Savage Worlds

Drizzt Do’Urden for D&D 5e

Statting out Conan for D&D 5e

Another version of Conan for D&D 5e

Statting out Elric for D&D 5e

Fafhrd & Gray Mouser for Savage Worlds (There’s also more versions of them in the Savage Worlds product called Lankhmar: City of Thieves)

Harry Potter characters for D&D 5e

Finally, here are links to fillable character sheets for both systems so that you can use the links above to craft your own all-star adventure group for your home-brew games.

Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion Fillable Character Sheet

D&D 5e Fillable Characters Sheets

 

Here are the character sheets for the Pulp Hero super team presented in individual files:

Indiana Jones

The Phantom

Lara Croft

Doc Savage

This is the final version of the Adventure called “The Blasphemy of Pavel”.

The Blasphemy of Pavel v3

I began with the 5e Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG), graph paper, pencil, and some dice using the tables on page 290. I completed about half of the dungeon only fudging rolls when I encroached upon the edges of the graph paper. I got about half-way finished and decided to jump ahead to the other tables to see what kind of dungeon I was creating. On the “Lair” table I rolled “Barracks where the lair’s defenders are quartered”. While looking through the tables, my mind was drawn to the “Temple or Shrine” table and I rolled “Central temple built to accommodate rituals”. The blending of these ideas made me think of a militant, religious order like the Knights Templar. I decided to check out the monster tables to try and see what sorts of monsters might be good to populate the dungeon with. As I perused the tables, the picture of the Bone Devil on page 308 caught my eye. I decided to get the Monster Manual (MM) and read about the Bone Devil.

While looking up the Bone Devil I came across the Death Knight and the Chain Devil as two candidates for Bosses. While reading the description of the Death Knight, the idea began to form of the plot that would result in the final product. I liked the idea of an Order of Good Knights descending into the stuff of Conspiracy Theory and Secret Society-type corruption. Having the Chain Devil be the cause of this fall fit right into the dungeon.

As I went back and finished rolling up the dungeon, I came up with religious practices that might go on in this shrine. I knew I needed to have the Knights as cultists in the dungeon. I also knew I wanted to have 3 Boss Battles. The first one I determined would be against Pavel. I learned from Ed Wetterman from a conversation as well as an adventure he ran at this year’s Genghis Con, that nothing stirs the Party as much as a good old Philosophical-style Moral Dilemma thrown in their lap. I thought it would be interesting to see if the Players would try and determine whether or not Pavel was beyond redemption. There’s no clear answer presented, but all options would be playable. A good DM/GM could also have Pavel say certain things that might raise such questions amongst the Party. I also gave Pavel a sword from both systems which are obviously versions of Stormbringer. Will this doppelganger of Elric suffer a similar fate here?

The third Boss Battle was a no-brainer – Chagûl the Chain Demon. But what could the second one be. While looking through the MM and the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion (SWFC) cross-referencing monsters, I must have either made my Notice roll or succeeded on my Difficulty Class roll, because I happened to notice that both systems have Archmages. After reading both systems stats – BTW, I think a cool Con game would be to run this adventure in both systems back-to-back just to experience the differences between two similarly designed adventures and how the two games play out – I decided to model the Archmage on Rasputin. I thought that it would be a cool second Boss Battle.

I finished rolling all of the dungeon except the very top part that connects to the Underdark. By that point, I knew the general plot and had ideas on how to key the dungeon.

I hope you enjoy this and decide to play through it. If you do, or just want to share your own random dungeon, please let me know!

David “DMG” Garrett

D3 Vault of the Drow is presented here for conversion to Savage Worlds.

I took longer with this conversion than I had hoped due to the release of the new D&D product Tales from the Yawning Portal.

WotC did a fantastic job re-releasing some classic D&D modules in this book. Namely, the three G-series modules that make up Against the Giants. Since I have delved deeply into those three modules recently, I took time to read through TftYP and left the D3 conversion sitting half finished. But I’ve now finally gotten around to finishing it up and so, here it is:

D3 Vault of the Drow v1

Enjoy!